Bush to meet panel told to find new way in Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/11/06

Bush to meet panel told to find new way in Iraq

President Bush is preparing to meet with a panel created to offer advice on the situation in Iraq, while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has signaled a review of U.S. strategy there.

Bush will meet Monday with members of the Iraq Study Group, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

Vice President Dick Cheney and national security adviser Stephen Hadley will join Bush in the meeting, Snow said Friday.

Bush's meeting with the group will come days after popular discontent with the Iraq war helped fuel the Democratic Party's congressional takeover. Following his party's electoral defeat, Bush announced that Donald Rumsfeld was resigning after six years as defense secretary.

Rumsfeld said on Thursday that what he called "phase two" of the Iraq war "has not been going well enough or fast enough."

Bush's choice to replace Rumsfeld -- Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group -- heightened expectations that the group's recommendations could end up being implemented.

"I'm open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds," Bush said on Thursday.

In a briefing Friday, Snow said Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and CIA Director Gen. Mike Hayden will also hold discussions with the group.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and other military officials will also participate, Snow said.

"The president is looking forward to hearing their views and discussing Iraq," the press secretary said.

The Iraq Study Group was created by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in March to "make a forward-looking, independent assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq and how that affects the surrounding region as well as U.S. interests," according to the group's Web site.

The study group is led by James Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton. Baker was secretary of state during President George H. W. Bush's administration. He served as White House chief of staff and treasury secretary in President Reagan's administration.

Pace conducted a series of television interviews on Friday morning to discuss changes taking place at the Pentagon.

Pace said on CNN: "I think the serious issue on the table is, what are the strategic objectives of the United States in the war on terrorism? And what is going right in the pursuit of those objectives and what is not going right and should be changed?"

Gates served as director of the CIA during the elder Bush's presidency. He will step down from his position on the Iraq Study Group and be replaced by Lawrence Eagleburger, a statement from the U.S. Institute of Peace announced Friday.

The institute coordinates the Iraq Study Group. Eagleburger also served as secretary of state under the first President Bush.

Source: CNN

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